Baptism By Fire!!

 

Texas Hog Hunting

Andy from Colorado got a little “baptism by fire” while hunting Texas wild hogs at the Dos!

It’s not every day that you see a first time hunter…first time harvesting an animal and first time big game hunting… jump right in!   Andy shot some great meat hogs while visiting the ranch with his friends.  When it came time to skin and quarter he was a little anxious but jumped right in elbow deep!  Most first time hunters have to have step by step guidance when it comes to the dirty work but Andy jumped right in!  When it got a little tough he had a few moments where he got a little hesitant but with a little *tough love* from Brice he pulled it off!   Now he’s got a story at the Dos!

Congrats Andy on your Texas wild hog hunt at the Dos!

Interesting Facts About Wild Hogs

Over the last 15 years, we have gotten pretty much every question imaginable in regards to wild hog hunting at Dos Plumas Ranch so I thought I’d take some time to answer some of the most popular questions while giving you some interesting facts. 

Did you know that wild pigs are relatives of the domesticated pig and warthogs of Africa?  They live across the United States, Europe, and Asia.  They are especially prevalent in Texas and provide the state with hundreds of millions of dollars of annual income.  Hog hunting in Texas is a hugely popular and a huge business due to their ability to procreate up to 3 times is the year if the conditions are right.  However, most wild hogs reproduce twice a year with an average of 8 piglets per litter.  Texas and other states will never be able to completely eradicate the wild hog which is great news for hunters and those who are partial to the delicacy of wild hog meat! 

Wild hogs are mean and tough, however, they almost never attack humans EXCEPT when they are hunted and cornered which makes for some exciting hunting at the ranch!   But you might want to ask Allen/owner about his experience with being chased by a wild hog….lol.  You can’t get too comfortable around wild hogs and he almost learned this the hard way with a wild boar tusk in his leg!  In fact, Brice/ranch manager lost a tire last month to an angry sow with large tusks.  She grunted and lunged for him…he jumped on the trailer and she caught the tire leaving a huge puncture wound.  $125 dollars later he had a new tire. 

How do wild hogs differ from domesticated or farm raised hogs?

Texas wild hogs are very smart!  Most wild hogs are covered in gray, brown or black coarse bristles.  A lot of wild hogs at the ranch have large colored spots similar to that of a paint horse.  They have tusks, straight tails, erect ears and long snouts.  Domesticated or farm raised pigs have very little body hair and cute floppy ears with a curly tail.  They have no tusks.  Wild pigs also have a strong sense of smell but they can’t see very well.  They can often smell the presence of a hunter or danger but will rarely see the hunter or know his location.  This makes hunting in the tall grass and brush challenging and exciting at the same time.  When wild hogs are threatened they can run up to 35 miles per hour…even the piglets are very fast! 

The second article on Interesting Facts

What are some characteristics of wild hogs?

As previously mentioned wild hogs are smart animals who have a high reproductive rate.   Adult wild hogs live to the age of 8-10 years old and weigh up to approximately 400 pounds.  They stand about 2.5 feet to 3 feet tall at the shoulder and can reach lengths of 4-5 feet with a straight tail.  Older boars are generally the largest of the wild hogs. 

Wild boars have large muscles on their chest and the backside of their necks.  This is due to the way the wild boar eats by digging up food from and in the ground with their snouts.  They are extremely sensitive to smell and their long snout helps them located food when they root.  They are incredibly adaptable and the wild hogs in the northern regions have developed thick coats of fur and eat a tremendous amount of food to develop layers of fat so they can survive the cold winters.  They have extremely short legs which make it difficult to move around in the snow, therefore they are rarely found in areas with deep snow.  This is great news for Texas!  We rarely have snow but have lots of food sources to keep the wild hogs fat and happy! 

Did you know that sows and boars both have not one but two sets of tusks? 

Their tusks grow as long as the hog is alive. 

The most intimidating set of tusks is on the upper jawline and is primarily used to push through bushes and grasses.  They are called the whetters.  The smaller tusks which grow upwards and at an angle are immediately below the lower jaw and are extremely sharp.  They are kept very sharp and extremely dangerous but continually grinding against the upper tusks that grow sideways.  These tusks are the ones you need to be wary of!  They are used for defense against attackers and when they fight other wild hogs. 

Wild hogs eat mostly grass, roots, nuts, cactus, crops, rodents, snakes and each other!

They prefer tender shoots of grass and nuts and will travel long distances for food which makes hunting them so challenging.  The population size is often determined by the availability of food.  In Texas and especially on the ranch the wild hogs are immune to rattlesnake bites and even eat the snakes.  They are fierce predators to the snakes.   In fact, we have personally experienced rattlesnakes not rattling when wild hogs are in the area as a natural defense.  Some places in Texas are said to have brought in wild hogs to control the snake population….with success! 

Boar Brushes

Did you know that wild boar hair was used for toothbrushes until the invention of synthetic material in the 1930’s??  I can’t even imagine using a wild hog hair toothbrush!  They soon realized that the hair took too long to dry and encouraged bacteria growth.  Go figure!  However, it’s worth noting that there is at least one natural earth friendly toothbrush company out there that STILL uses wild boar hair harvested from China.   Yes…you read that correctly.

Did you know that wild boar bristle brushes have been around since the 1800’s?  It’s been used by many cultures across the globe.  It’s a natural way to create shiny hair without products.  I’m told that the boar hair contains sebum which is an anti-frizz serum as well as it lubricates your hair and seals your cuticles creating a healthy natural shine.   Famous actresses such as Katherine Hepburn and Rita Hayworth were huge fans of using wild boar bristle brushes and for centuries women have kept a boar hairbrush by their table for daily use.  I never knew!

We found out about boar brushes about a year ago when a company contacted us about harvesting our wild boar hair.  It’s kind of a funny story if you think about it.  They wanted us to…after the hog was harvested by our hunters:

  1.   Shave the wild hog hair of all its hair
  2.   Wash the wild hog hair in a particular solution
  3.   Lay the hair out on a flat mat to allow it to naturally dry
  4. Bundle the hair in 5-pound stacks

Interesting.   We declined.  Lol    So if anyone is interested in coming out to the ranch and shaving the wild hogs that our hunters harvest just let us know.  You might be able to make a little extra money to go hunting!

Wild Hog Meat

Another question we often get asked is “Can you eat the meat?”  Our answer is always the same which is “of course!”  Wild hog meat is extremely versatile as well as tasty.  It’s very lean and the possibilities of what to make with it are almost endless.  From ground hog meat and ribs to the tenderloins we don’t leave any meat on the hog!  We also have brats and Italian or breakfast sausages…depending on our mood…made out of some of the larger wild hogs.  It’s tasty and we highly recommend it!

Wild hog meat is considered an exotic meat and is very expensive.  So hold out your little finger when you eat it.  Lololol  It’s much cheaper to come hunt…and make memories…and have your hog processed than it is to go to the grocery store to enjoy this exotic meat.  For instance, to purchase the wild hog meat at a store it would cost you anywhere from $13 a pound for ground wild hog to $34 a pound for the tenderloin.  That’s per pound!  Per pound!  Hunting your Texas wild hog is much more affordable and fun so come to the ranch and fill your freezers for a fraction of the cost!

We have a friend Dave who came to hunt with us several years ago.  We see him almost every year at the Denver ISE show and he always brightens my day.  Years ago he started sending me recipes to use when I cooked for hunters.  Nowadays we are so busy that we offered up a full kitchen in the lodge with all the pots and pans, utensils, stove, grill, refrigerators you would need to cook all your own meals.  BUT what I did get from Dave was a huge stack of recipes…most of which I have really enjoyed over the years.  Our hunters have as well.  What I like about his recipes is that they leave a bit of “wiggle room” to allow me to add authenic Texas spices to give it a quick kick. 

Sometimes our hunters can’t fit all their meat into their cooler to take home so we usually take the leftovers.  Well, we have a freezer full but we never let it go to waste!  I’d like to share one of my favorite recipes from Dave that I use with wild hog meat.  I use a slow cooker but you could also use the ever popular Instapot sold on Amazon or just about any home store these days.  Both are very forgiving…just use your preference…as is the recipe.  If you don’t have for instance, carrots then add potatoes.  Use what’s in the refrigerator!  I think this is the perfect recipe of cooking wild hog meat.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

  • Wild hog shoulder or chunk of wild hog meat about 6 pounds
  • Olive oil or canola oil to coat the meat (makes the seasoning stay on the meat)
  • 2 TBS of steak seasoning of any kind (I use a seasoning named Krippled Kids Steak Walk made by one of our hunters…it’s award winning!  Thank you Jason Mazanec!)
  • 3 carrots roughly chopped
  • 2 small onions roughly chopped
  • 1 bunch of cilantro (again Texas spices here)
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • Can of rotel tomatoes
  • Splash of whiskey
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • Splash of tabasco or some kind of hot sauce

Step 1:  Take the chunk of meat and rub oil and seasoning on very liberally.  Set aside to marinate.

2.  Cut vegetables and place in the bottom of your cooker

3.  Heat a skillet with a bit of olive oil and sear all sides of your meat

4.  Mix the whiskey, canned Rotel , tabasco and brown sugar together in a bowl

5.  Place meat and the ingredients in the bowl in the cooker on top of the veggies

6.  Cook on low for approximately 8 hours…I always cook it overnight

7.  Your meat should be fork tender and ready to eat! 

You can eat wild pulled hog meat…pulled pork… on sandwiches topped with coleslaw or over rice.  If you’re low carb like we try to be it’s great in a lettuce wrap.  If you’re a true Texan you’re going to want to wrap this tender, tasty meat in a tortilla!   If you’re not a Texan….try it on a tortilla and I bet you’ll be hooked!

A Grandfather’s Perspective On Wild Hog Hunting

You’ve heard the saying that our children are our future?  I don’t think I could agree more.  It seems that youth today are slowly getting away from going outside and hunting, playing and exploring in preference of staying indoors to play video games or texting on their phones.  I believe it’s the duty of parents and grandparents to show our youth how to be outdoors and learn to be self sufficient….hunting and gathering just as our forefathers did.  Here at the ranch we often have grandfathers and fathers who bring their children…boys and girls to learn and hunt.  They are making lifelong memories as well as teaching their children the skills of hunting.  I love being a part of those memories!  We always try to post pics of the children with their wild hog harvest on Facebook so all their friends and family can be a part of their accomplishment!

I have taken much pride in teaching my grandchildren about the great outdoors and especially hog hunting.  Some are younger and I’m in the process of teaching them the art of patience, safety and a general love of wild hog hunting.  I have a grandson who is older now but I remember when he first started coming out to the ranch.

I spent years teaching my grandson how to properly handle his weapon and how to be a responsible gun owner.  We started with his first and only BB gun to learn.  He must have been 4 years old when he got it for Christmas and he…wore…it…out.   We constantly talked about how to point the barrel away from someone, always use your safety, never put your finger on the trigger…basic gun etiquette.  The same way I taught my own son.  My grandchild has always been a cautious child and he learned pretty quickly how to use his weapon.  I even watched him correct his friend on making sure he used the safety with precision while they were out practice shooting.  That was very gratifying. 

Then one day it happened.  The day had finally come!  My grandson said PawPaw I think I’m ready to go wild hog hunting.  I was elated for this new season in his life!  What grandfather wouldn’t be?  Obviously, we have a pretty endless supply of wild hogs here in Texas and especially on the ranch.  We worked together to set up a ground blind and waited patiently for that perfect wild hog to come in.  As it happened, a small herd of Texas wild hogs came into the feeder near the ground blind.  I was proud when he said, “Let’s get that smaller hog PawPaw so we don’t waste any meat.”  That’s being a great steward of our wildlife.  He followed my lead perfectly and waited until the smaller wild hog was clear of the others and then BAM- he executed the shot perfectly.  The hog fell down where he stood.  One shot…one kill.  That’s the best kind of hunting!  My grandson was beyond excited as was I!  We high fived, laughed and hugged so hard that I actually fell out of my chair!  I couldn’t have been more proud of my grandson on his first Texas wild hog hunt!

After taking pictures of his trophy wild hog we got it back to camp and commenced to skinning and quartering the animal.  You should have heard him talking to the guys in camp about how he waited for the perfect opportunity and made the perfect shot!  He sounded like a grown man telling his story by the campfire that evening!   Now I’ll be honest here and tell you that he isn’t quite ready to skin and quarter the wild hogs just yet but he is watching the video on our homepage about how to skin and quarter wild hogs so he can be ready for the next time he goes wild hog hunting at the ranch.  He will get there!  And maybe even some day he’ll come out and work the summers with me.  The important thing is to note that he is learning how to hunt ethically and safely using the resources the good Lord gave us on this earth.  Wild hogs are very tasty and shouldn’t be wasted even though they are considered a pest by some.  Not us!  We love hunting Texas wild hogs and I look forward to years of hunting wild hogs with my grandson!

I know our hunting times together mean a lot to him as well since we still often talk about our hunts.  Since his first wild hog hunt, we have also been deer hunting and he has harvested a deer as well.  Great times!  Great memories!

Now we need to work on teaching the younger grandchildren those lessons that my grandson has learned over the years.  The oldest granddaughter is now 7 and has shown a huge interest in wild hog hunting.  It’s our business so I’m glad she has taken a shine to it.  To date, we have sat in blinds and watched wild hogs come and go using our phones to take commentary videos.  LOL, We whisper and laugh a lot.  One day she will be ready to hunt.  If I saw her more she would be ready now but we still have some safety skills to learn before she gets behind the gun to shoot her first wild hog.   

Someday soon!!  Someday soon….

Wow! How time flies…..

So we just got back from the Denver ISE show…great times as usual!  We really enjoyed catching up with everyone and meeting new people.  It seems Texas wild hog hunting is pretty popular with Colorado hunters!   We are working hard to choose the winners of our free hog hunting raffle so keep an eye out for an email from us. 😉

We have been very busy since this past summer.  We always do some projects to keep things fresh.   Let me catch you up…

We added a new mudroom with lockers onto the lodge.  We are VERY happy with how that turned out and now our hunters have their own space to keep their hunting gear freeing up more space in the bedrooms.

We also added a pavilion outside so our hunters can sit in the shade or sit outside when it’s raining.

What a way to start out!
What a way to start out!

It’s been extremely good hog hunting weather and a lot of our guys have been tagging out over the past few months.  Way to fill those freezers!  I have to send a “shout out” to Peter from South Dakota who got his first ever wild hog at the Dos!  What a way to start out your hunting career!  lol   Great job!  We are very happy to have been a part of those memories.